Audrey's Reviews > Wild & Steamy

Wild & Steamy by Meljean Brook
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's review
Nov 16, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: paranormal-sci-fi-or-otherworldly
Read on November 16, 2011

3+ overall, but the individual stories definitely varied in quality and substance.

The Blushing Bounder by Meljean Brook: 3.5-4 stars. This Iron Seas novella featuring Constable Newberry (first name "Edward," in case you didn't know) and his wife, Temperance, is sweet and adds some background and depth to a strong-but-silent secondary character found in the first Iron Seas book, The Iron Duke. Considering this is the last of the available Iron Seas stories that I had to read, I was excited to see little glimpses of characters that I had already learned about (e.g., Mina in her inspector role, mention of the latest published Archimedes Fox story). The story of Newberry and Temperance's romance is itself a sweet story of a married couple who came together over a misunderstanding that, at its heart, was driven (unbeknownst to Temperance at the time) by Newberry's love for her. He is a gentle giant (view spoiler), but he feels strongly for Temperance and will do anything - even move her across an ocean and risk her hating him forever - to save her from the consumption that is eating away at her health. Temperance believed (falsely) that Newberry was a gold-digging manipulator who deliberately compromised her into marriage and handing over her inheritance to him. The story does a very good job of showing his (completely pure) motivations and his steadfast dedication to her. Once Temperance understands and accepts his actions as pure and driven by love, the couple and their romance fall neatly into place (view spoiler).

Vixen by Jill Myles: 2 stars. Mehhhhhhh. I got a whole lot of meh out of this short erotica piece. First off, it features themes I avoid in romance - menage and, ultimately, a polyamorous relationship. I tried not to let that cloud my judgment as I forged ahead and dove into this story of a reclusive were-vixen, Miko, who has, up til this story, been denying her natural were-vixen sluttiness (for lack of a more refined term) by remaining a hermit. The two heroes show up when Miko's mother sends them as bodyguards to protect Miko from (illegal) fox hunts that have recently cropped up in the area. The plot in this one is paper thin, and it only serves to advance the "romance" when Miko does TSTL I'm-putting-myself-in-danger-and-you-can't-stop-me things. I just couldn't relate to Miko, both in her waffling over which hunky guy she wanted and in her TSTL moments, and I didn't feel like we learned anything substantive emotionally about the two guys. Also, as a general criticism to the editors, I thought this anthology was marketed in the non-erotic mainstream romance genre, so a story with menage and a long-term m/f/m relationship just doesn't fit into expectations. It just was a disappointment in the end, but was okay as a vehicle for spicy sexytimes.

Kitten-tiger & the Monk by Carolyn Crane: 4 stars. Verrrrrrrrrrry cool. Really liked this story set in the "Disillusionists" world. I was only 10 pages into it, and I had to go online to queue up book 1 of that series on my library requests. This is a second-chance romance story that features an anti-heroine by the name of Sophia, who regrets the path that life and her ability to erase/replace memories have taken her. I didn't think I'd like her, and I actually didn't for a large part of the story. What she did to Robert when they were teenagers in love was heartbreaking. Just the reminiscing that Robert does about their love and their falling out made me want to smack her in the face with a two-by-four. The story and strong world-building yield a setting that is an industrial alternate universe, giving me a feeling of gritty urban life and a sense of general dystopia. We learn secrets on both sides that really help for each of them to trust and understand each other better. The thorough backgrounds and intricate setting definitely left me with the impression that a LOT of thought went into this short piece and the world as a whole. It's got a dark and rather depressing overall vibe, but I really enjoyed this one and, despite my usual aversion to urban fantasy, will definitely check out the series.
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Reading Progress

11/16/2011 page 5
2.0% "Can't get enough of Brook's Iron Seas world!"
11/16/2011 page 13
4.0% ""Very casually, she had mentioned him in her letters to her sisters—the constable from the park who blushed so charmingly. Perhaps she mentioned him too many times; Prudence had replied with the caution that men whose blood rose so easily were usually Men With Appetites." heh heh...Men With Appetites."

Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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willaful Should I wait to read the Crane story til I've started the series?

message 2: by Audrey (last edited Nov 27, 2011 06:09AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Audrey I haven't read the series yet, but we're planning on doing a December read of book no. 1 in the Refugees group. I think most of us participating are doing so because we liked this story so much. I think the heroine in this short story is kind of a "bad guy" in the series, so I think I actually liked reading her story first before being clouded by prejudice against her as fueled by the (first person POV, I think) regular series narrator.

Have you read dystopian stuff before? This was my first exposure to it, so it might also be good to see if you like that type of setting.

willaful Oooo, will have to join in that group read.

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